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Comments like the below just really wind me up tight and threaten to unleash further Angus-style ranting upon my poor unsuspecting LJ readership (amd maybe The Times if they're still reading me :p).

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President George W Bush said the US was waiting for Iran's formal response to the proposal, but urged the UN to move swiftly if Iran did not meet the 31 August deadline.

"In order for the UN to be effective, there must be consequences if people thumb their nose at the United Nations Security Council," he said. (No Nuclear Halt, Warns Khamenei; BBC Online News Monday 21st August 2006)

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This is just another case of Bush trying to use the UN as an American tool.

"In order for the UN to be effective, there must be consequences if people thumb their nose at the United Nations Security Council,"

Unlike the US & UK (plus friends) of course when they ignored the UN Security Council entirely and launched the invasion of Iraq without UN sanction or global support.


I agree that the UN must be strong and that there must be consequences to people and countries who "thumb their nose" at the UN. I agree that should cover ALL countries regardless where they may be located and regardless of their religious views or wealth.

Anyway, I'll be strangely restrained this evening and stop my rant there before it really starts kicking in.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
silver_blue
Aug. 22nd, 2006 12:21 am (UTC)
Because the UN was entirely useless at enforcing their own resolutions, which should have ensured some kind of effective sanction against Iraq under their auspices. It was Saddam thumbing his nose at the UN long before any nations took action against Iraq.

The UN wasn't effective in that instance. At this point the US is trying to get them to act effectively. Personally I've little doubt that they'll fail to do so, but hey ho.
silver_blue
Aug. 22nd, 2006 09:47 am (UTC)
Incidentally, at the point at which the US is criticised for not using the United Nations, and then criticised for trying to use the United Nations, aren't we reaching a point when it's just criticism of the US because it's the US?
angusabranson
Aug. 22nd, 2006 10:33 am (UTC)
Case by case study. It's also down to what attitude the US takes too.

Admittedly many of the things the Bush regime do I find distasteful but I do actually support them on some issues. The same with the Blair administration here and most governments worldwide. Everyone has there good points and you should never just blanket condemn every policy just 'because' it's a government you don't approve of.
silver_blue
Aug. 22nd, 2006 11:08 am (UTC)
I agree with you completely, but I also don't think that's the case a lot of the time with the US - when because the Bush administration has polarised so many people it leads to lots of "Bush is bad" shouty rants without any real consideration.

In this particular situation - Bush is actually doing everything that people criticised him for not doing regarding the Iraq war. And now he gets criticised because that's American bullying?

Incidentally, the UN is a dead dodo in terms of international relations for so long as nation states exist. Neither the US or any other nation has a moral or legal obligation to support an entity that acts against its national interests.

The UN was a lovely idea that has been a near total failure in practice. It's completely failed to prevent war or protect freedom (something that the US has been more effective at, actually). Its vastly internally corrupt but unable and unwilling to reform itself. It's one purpose these days is to act as an incredibly expensive talking shop.

winterbadger
Aug. 22nd, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC)
In this particular situation - Bush is actually doing everything that people criticised him for not doing regarding the Iraq war. And now he gets criticised because that's American bullying?

He's getting criticized because this shows every appearance of being a cynical, calculated ploy. He's using the UN as a stalking horse becuase his other failed policies have the US so deeply committed elsewhere that we can't bully other nations into doing what we wwant on our own.

But when the UN doesn't move as fast as he wants, he blusterrs and threatens and tries to drag the UN with him.

Does anyone seriously think that the Bush administration cares what th international community thinks or is prepared to abide by its dictates? Why then should we take seriously the idea that the US is "working with" the UN now?

Incidentally, the UN is a dead dodo in terms of international relations for so long as nation states exist. Neither the US or any other nation has a moral or legal obligation to support an entity that acts against its national interests.

And what state are you a citizen of that doesn't require you to give up some of your natural rights (the right to take whatever you like no matter who claims it belongs to them; the right to drive wherever you want no matter whose property you are driving over; the do whatever you wish whether or not that harms anyone else) in order to participate in a society.

It's one purpose these days is to act as an incredibly expensive talking shop.

There are a lot of things that are far better dealt with by talkign than by blowing things up (the only thign the US seems to be good at at the moment).
lenfant_de_jeu
Aug. 22nd, 2006 02:16 am (UTC)
How about how the US have NEVER paid their UN levies.

Is that thumbing the nose?

Also, anytime the UN has gone against US ideals, they've gone ahead on their own. Or when they aren't going as fast as they want...

I gave up on the UN a long time ago, when a country who belongs and tries to influence it but doesn't abide by it and has the money, power and madman leadership to do what they want anyway - what chance does the UN have.

mrmmarc
Aug. 22nd, 2006 10:35 am (UTC)
"How about how the US have NEVER paid their UN levies."

Not strictly true. I mean- there is the fact that the US write off most of the ground rent for the UN building and have you ever tried to see just how much in MILLIONS the unpaid parking fine of diplomats in and around the area from Lexington avenue to the UN building is?
The figure is mind bogglingly gargantuam!

Mostly however there is a bit of back story here.
The UN is famous for its corruption. And there has been quite a bit going on. Are dear Kofi is... well, NO ONE has said the words 'He is in it up to his eyeballs'... but that is because he is Sec gen of the UN and the position is granted some courtasy.

But many American observers believe he is in it up to his eyeballs!
I personally don't. But he HAS failed to deal with several majour issues of corruption with the org.

THe UN is in a mess. And it has nothing to do with America. Ya think America control the UN? Far from it!
(If any country can be said to have the controlling influence in the UN right now its China who are politically the REAL heavyweights of that organisation and who have manipulated everyone out of the park).

It needs to reform but CANNOT reform itself (the UN Security Council is the tip of the cieburg- the five permenant members KNOW they need to expand- France already shares its vote with Germany (I mean TOTALLY shares the vote); China are going crazy to veto Japan's entry; India will oppose any move that does not put it there; Brazil is still waiting the 'diplomatic payment' promised it when back in the 70's they agreed to US pressure to NOT develop nuclear weapons as they were on the brink of doing so- an example by the way which many diplomats remember and does lead into the current Iran issues).

Plus- the UN Peackeeping ideal is dead in the water. Blue Helmets FAIL! WHenever you see UN blue helmets it means two things- one costs will be IMMENSE and two, civilians will die.
UN Peackeeping forces have NOT worked since the mid 60's (when they sent the Irish army into Leopoldville and that was not peacekeeping that was a direct combat operation).

She's messed up.

But she is a wonderful thing.
I am a genuine, 100% UN lovin' frak here- who has a UN flag on my bookcase and who was THRILLED to make the pilogramage to the UN Building in NYC a few years back.
It does more good than harm; it helps more than it hinders; there are literally MILLIONS alive today because of the UN and the UN alone. So it ain't all bad.

Its easy to see recent US relations with the UN as all bad. Remember- he US fell out with France not so much the UN (which is great as the veto to prevent the US/UK getting the suppport for an invasion was actually insisted upon by GERMANY- but the French took the heat).

The UN is one of the only places on Earth where you can see real global politics in action. As you may have guessed I am a UN lovin' freak- but also one who scans the reports of the journos perma based within the organisation.

For the record Bush isn't mad.
He just betrayed his ideals.
This is the man who promised the 'end of adventurism'- the man elected on the promise of turning his back on Clinton's interventionism (Bosnia, Somalia etc).
Then came 9/11 and then Bush reacted.
Like all good reactionaries he had NO idea what he was doing.
He stumbled into this- blind!

There is only ONE world leader who upon taking office swore blind he would go after the Bosnian Serbs and Saddamn Hussain and did so...
Tony Blair.
Who has always been an advocate of Thatcher's foreign policy (opposed to multilaterism; advocating Neo-Conservative values of 'fighting for what we believe in'; long history of interventionism (look to Seirra Leone)).

Bush is a middle manager- incompetant, easily convinced by smarter men; Blair is the same- a deeply moral man who is ONLY in Labour because of his wife (far more the radical socialist than Tony)- we like to think Iraq is somekind of conspiracy theory.

Nope- its just an incompetance issue!
The tyranny of the mediocre!
:)
silver_blue
Aug. 22nd, 2006 10:59 am (UTC)
The best argument against Iraq as a conspiracy theory was that Nixon couldn't keep Watergate a secret when six people knew, but people seem to expect there to be some massive conspiracy about Iraq involving hundreds or thousands of government and intelligence personnel.
mrmmarc
Aug. 22nd, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC)
(nods)
And also- what evidence is there that the Bush administration would be able to keep keep something like this secret.
The man is hated by many in his own party!
(this being said as he is NOT running next time, the GOP is REALLY getting its s*it organised for 2008- WOW!)
lenfant_de_jeu
Aug. 22nd, 2006 09:57 pm (UTC)
too... early... in... the.. morning... for reasoned rational argument. I bow to the more informed power.

*goes back to bed*
winterbadger
Aug. 22nd, 2006 02:19 am (UTC)
There will never be an effective truly international body for taking forceful action. That is because all states have to consent to surrender part of their sovereignty in order for such a scheme to work, and the most powerful states will not give up their power for the greater good. The US won't even sign on to the International Criminal Court, for fear it might be held accountable in it for its actions. (The way the US has tried to force other, smaller countries to opt out of the ICC by threatening them is truly shameful.)

The UN serves a great many useful functions, but the pretense that is is a body that can enforce the will of the community of nations is tissue-thin. Even at it's most powerful (at the end of World War II), it was only a tool for the Allied powers. :-(
mrmmarc
Aug. 22nd, 2006 10:42 am (UTC)
The War Crimes refusal comes down always to the same issues-
Statue of Limitations and Scope of investigation.

Scope:
Now when you and I think of War crimes we think of Rawandan's butchering whole villages of each other; we think of Death Camps in Nazi Germany; we think of Concentration Camps in Bosnia etc.
Accidentally dropping a bomb on a the wrong village is a war crime? An accident?
This is the issue.
Some nations (THE US) think accidental or collatoral fire should not be included- only the big things; others oppose this saying ALL such incidents should be a war crime- the US will not join up if the latter is included)

Statue of Limitations:
Now this is a piss take. Several have indicated that War crimes trials should be held over PAST wars- including Vietnam, Korea, Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the Tirk's Genocide of the Kurds!
Where DO we draw the line?
SImply- the US will not join anything where the debate about this is NOT being had.

ICC is a 'work in progress'. Don't condemn the US so much as get fustrated that these BIG ole arguments are not solved yet. But we are getting there.

I totally agree- the UN will never be a body for taking forceful action...
winterbadger
Aug. 22nd, 2006 11:33 am (UTC)
Don't condemn the US so much as get fustrated that these BIG ole arguments are not solved yet. But we are getting there.

No, I'm sorry, but I do insist on condemning the US; our government want to be able to try people when and where we wish (even pre-9/11) and call it justice, but they also want to opt out of the international justice system that everyone else has signed onto.

And let's not even get started on Guantanamo and "pre-emptive war".

States parties to the ICC include the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and 91 other nations. 39 states have signed but not yet ratified it.

States who oppose it include Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, North KOrea, Zimbabwe, Israel (all noted propoenets of human rights and justice ... and the United States.

Let's not pretend the US has anything like a defensible position on the grounds that you suggest. If it wants to help define the terms of the ICC, it has to participate. It didn't get what it wanted, so it "unsigned" the charter.

The US position has nothing to do with scope or statute; the permanent members of the UN Security Council each have a veto over what cases are prosecuted. This has to do with not wanting to submit to the same rules everyone else does.
silver_blue
Aug. 22nd, 2006 11:45 am (UTC)
Thing is, if they disagree with the rules then why should they sign up "because everybody else does"? The US has tried to participate in developing the rules of the ICC, they haven't got what they wanted. There's no obligation therefore for them to sign up.
winterbadger
Aug. 22nd, 2006 12:16 pm (UTC)
No, but what is manifestly evident is that nearly every other nation who shares the standards of justice, decency, and honesty that we purport to believe in has signed up, leaving us in the camp with the torturers, "disappearers", and human rights abusers. The company you keep is an indicator of who you are and what you believe in. We apparently feel that on the issue of human rights and war crimes we have more in common with Syria, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and Zimbabwe than with Canada, the UK, and the Scandinavian countries. I, as a US citizen, am deeply ashamed of that.
mrmmarc
Aug. 22nd, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
The CURRENT administration? Sure- I do know the above arguments were used during the Clinton administration.

The Bush admin is running from it.

But admist the 39 are those who ARE using those arguments. Which is why we have a case by case aproach right now (Bosnia and Rawanda).


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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